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History Cafe

Ever wondered how Seattle came to own most of a river for its drinking water? What were Seattlites up to during the Civil War? What’s underneath the steep hill that Pike Place Market sits upon? Join MOHAI, HistoryLink, and the Seattle Public Library on the third Wednesday of the month for a discussion about local history—both popular and obscure—and discover something new.

Join a monthly conversation uncovering unique Seattle stories relevant to a changing community.

Listen to the Stories

History Café Audio Archive

Hear past History Café programs, with topics ranging from Seattle through the eyes of its first Chinese resident to the city’s classical music scene.

Syncopated Classic: Rediscovering an Early Seattle Jazz Pioneer

In 1924, Seattle Jazz pioneer Frank D. Waldron created 9 original compositions for his saxophone tutorial book Syncopated Classic. Obscured by time, these works are the earliest archived compositions by a Seattle jazz musician. Greg Ruby, a Seattle jazz musician, unearthed this rare archive and performed Waldron’s work and discussed his life, the times, and importance to Seattle Jazz history at this November 2015 History Café.

The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop

As a prelude to The Legacy of Seattle Hip-Hop exhibit, Dr. Daudi Abe discussed the Seattle Hip-Hop community, from Seattle’s champion break dance crew, to highly collaborative and diverse performers and DeeJays. Dr. Abe is a professor, writer and historian who has taught classes on culture, race, gender, communication, education, hip-hop and sports, and wrote Emerald Street: A History of Hip-Hop in Seattle 1979-2015.

Uncorking the Past at Seattle's Finntown

Recent archaeological excavation of Seattle’s Smith Cove shantytown, capped by 12 feet of fill in the 1940s, has provided a look at a multi-cultural Prohibition and Depression-era community. During this History Cafe, Alicia Valentino, the archaeologist in charge of the excavation, discuss the artifacts found and this unique story within Seattle’s history.

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